Main definitions of mortar in English

: mortar1mortar2

mortar1

noun

  • 1A short smooth-bore gun for firing shells (technically called bombs) at high angles:

    ‘mortars and machine guns’
    [as modifier] ‘nine civilians died in a horrific mortar attack’
    • ‘On Christmas Day, at least five Iraqis and two US soldiers were killed in car bomb explosions and mortar attacks.’
    • ‘The Dutch forces' camp in suburban Samawah was attacked on April 22, with one of the mortar shells landing inside the compound.’
    • ‘A spokesman for the Polish-led forces reportedly said the insurgents used a car bomb, mortars and machine guns.’
    • ‘The ammunition arrived today - 300 tonnes of shells, mortar bombs, grenades, machine gun rounds and bullets for the rifles.’
    • ‘Israeli forces fired on the camp in response to a mortar bomb attack on a settlement.’
    • ‘Howitzers and mortars are more effective because of their ability to engage targets on reverse slopes.’
    • ‘The missile is deployed in a transport-launching canister from which it is launched through the mortar start technique.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, sources among Samawah security authorities reported an apparent mortar shell attack near the Dutch military camp in Samawah early Wednesday.’
    • ‘Near Baquba, insurgents coordinated a car bombing and a mortar attack on a police station.’
    • ‘It was very much an artillery war and in the British army shells, mortars, and grenades accounted for 61 per cent of all wounds, with bayonet wounds accounting for only 0.3 per cent.’
    • ‘The Tamil Tigers, who are seeking a homeland in the north and east of Sri Lanka, used rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and mortars in the attack, the spokesman said.’
    • ‘Insurgents used grenades, machine guns and mortar shells in continuous volleys.’
    • ‘No explosives were found in the mortar shell and the bomb disposal unit said no-one in the local area was at risk.’
    • ‘The military said the attack was retaliation for a mortar shell fired toward an army post.’
    • ‘Some 4.5 million pieces, varying from anti - air-craft missiles to mortars and assault rifles, were available to civilians as old army depots were turned into free shopping zones.’
    • ‘Four Bulgarian and two Thai soldiers were killed and 37 coalition troops were injured after Iraq's increasingly well-organised resistance attacked, using mortars, machine guns and a car bomb.’
    • ‘As he bravely continued to move around the perimeter, a mortar shell exploded, wounding him in the face and body.’
    • ‘Last year a team of 20 divers scoured the seabed for shells, bombs and mortars up to ten metres deep; items were either brought up for disposal or blown up in situ if they looked unstable.’
    • ‘A car bomb and a mortar rip through a commercial area in central Baghdad.’
    • ‘The Rev Alan Reeve went to preach in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, last month and was evacuated two weeks later following an attack of mortar bombs and machine gun fire.’
    1. 1.1 A device used for firing a lifeline or firework.
      • ‘Rockets are more sophisticated devices than mortars.’
  • 2A cup-shaped receptacle in which ingredients are crushed or ground, used in cooking or pharmacy:

    ‘a pestle and mortar’
    • ‘For the black sesame filling: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the sesame seeds, sugar and cocoa butter into a paste.’
    • ‘Fittings include feeding cups, mortars and pestles, pill-making machines, bench balances, and glass measures.’
    • ‘With a mortar and pestle, crush the thyme, garlic, and peppercorns and place. in a large saucepan.’
    • ‘They can be ground easily in a mortar and pestle or in an electric spice or coffee grinder.’
    • ‘Wood carving, traditionally limited to the making of implements and utensils - bowls, mortars, pestles, and canoes - is now geared towards the tourist market.’
    • ‘At each sampling date, approximately 1 g FW of a pooled sample of crown tissues from ten plants was ground to a fine powder with a pestle in a mortar containing liquid nitrogen.’
    • ‘Remove and place in a mortar and pestle or food processor and crush.’
    • ‘Woodcarvers, all of whom are men, carve masks and figurines as well as mortars, pestles, and bowls.’
    • ‘Freeze-dried leaves were ground into powder using a mortar and pestle and homogenized in homogenizing buffer.’
    • ‘A mortar and pestle is best, or use a spice mill or food processor.’
    • ‘Some spices come as seeds, so that's when you get to break out your mortar and pestle and grind those seeds up to really bring the flavour out.’
    • ‘In the mortar, crush 20 black peppercorns and some Maldon salt.’
    • ‘Clean ocean sand was added to the mortars to facilitate crushing.’
    • ‘Grind all the ingredients together in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.’
    • ‘Put the lemon thyme leaves in a pestle and mortar and crush with the salt and a good grinding of black pepper.’
    • ‘‘The trick is getting a proper amalgamation out of the garlic and ginger,’ says a marine, using a plastic mug and a stick as a mortar and pestle.’
    • ‘In my wanderings around the hills I had found a mortar and pestle, a moccasin last and a canoe anchor, each fashioned from basalt.’
    • ‘If you don't have a food processor, you may have to grind the paste by hand in a mortar and pestle (muhaha).’
    • ‘In a mortar, crush the cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon.’
    • ‘Individual garnets were cut from selected samples, crushed in a mortar and pestle and sieved.’
    dish, basin, pan, pot, crock, crucible, mortar
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Attack or bombard with a mortar:

    ‘the Commando positions were being heavily mortared’
    ‘at first light the mortaring and sniping started’
    • ‘‘Everyone's watching it,’ says a Marine corporal at an outpost in Ramadi that is mortared by insurgents daily.’
    • ‘The place had been mortared before, and our tent was sitting right here we could be seen from outside the wire.’
    • ‘In a couple of minutes we're in an even poorer-looking neighborhood, bouncing slowly on a street that resembles a heavily mortared battlefield.’
    • ‘No serious injuries were reported in this attack, nor in the next day's mortaring, which provoked a heavy-weapon Army counter-attack inside Najaf.’
    • ‘The resistance can mortar a division headquarters without fear of discovery.’
    • ‘Getting shot at, mortared, etc. does not give him the right to look down at his fellow soldiers.’
    • ‘And these are the headquarters troops, who, the story notes, get mortared every night.’
    • ‘American positions and patrols in Mosul are being regularly ambushed or mortared.’
    • ‘Despite heavy shelling, mortaring and machine gun fire, within about an hour they made it off the beach.’
    • ‘The day before a local warlord had mortared the town, killing 25.’
    • ‘In June 2004, the Post Exchange here was mortared, killing two Soldiers and wounding more than a dozen additional troops.’
    • ‘Staff Sergeant Brian Flading, a 19D Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, remembers an incident when his platoon was mortared one night in Balad.’
    • ‘The Green Zone headquarters of the occupation in Baghdad was mortared Monday night, with reports of widespread guerilla activity in parts of the city.’
    • ‘I have been shot at, mortared, lost friends, and cared for the wounded.’
    • ‘On Sunday night, guerrillas mortared the Baghdad airport, killing a former Fijian soldier working for the British company Global Risk Strategies International.’
    • ‘A military headquarters in Basra city was mortared on October 8, injuring three soldiers.’
    • ‘He's at risk of getting mortared, and he has to move with the military in armored Humvees.’
    • ‘The regimental camp was mortared twice and the soldiers were routinely required to round up insurgent suspects, occasionally under fire.’
    • ‘Hopefully, I'll have some good stories when I return, since the people I'm going to visit have been mortared and ambushed several times, luckily without injury.’
    • ‘Whether you're ambushed, mortared at your base camp or on patrol, that, ladies and gentlemen, is combat.’

Origin

Late Old English (in mortar), from Old French mortier, from Latin mortarium (to which the English spelling was later assimilated).

Pronunciation:

mortar

/ˈmɔːtə/

Main definitions of mortar in English

: mortar1mortar2

mortar2

noun

  • [mass noun] A mixture of lime with cement, sand, and water, used in building to bond bricks or stones.

    • ‘If you draw your layout to the nominal size, you will actually be allowing for space between the stones, once laid, for sand infill or mortar.’
    • ‘The buildings are all made of either sandstone blocks or mortar with heavy sand content.’
    • ‘The answer may be found in the preceding Pasuk, which says that the people decided to use bricks instead of stones and lime as mortar.’
    • ‘Scores of Chicago's mortar and brick factory buildings and warehouses squat within a shadow's reach of glistening skyscrapers.’
    • ‘We were having some building work done and there was cement, sand and mortar lying around.’
    • ‘One popular type of edging is to use a low brick or rock wall, cemented together with mortar.’
    • ‘Sometimes, a layer of mortar and brick or flagstone can be placed on top of an old slab, yielding a very attractive and properly sloped surface.’
    • ‘Weep holes are designed to drain out any water that seeps through the brick or mortar.’
    • ‘Separations between brick and mortar can allow air and water to leak through gaps in the wall.’
    • ‘By volume the mix is approximately half glass fiber and half cement mortar.’
    • ‘Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar.’
    • ‘Mr Green suggests pointing these cracks with a putty lime mortar, pigmented to match the stones.’
    • ‘Compared to brick and mortar, the pre-engineered buildings saved about $50,000 per building in labor costs.’
    • ‘The focus today is on mundane businesses that produce, for the most part, bricks, mortar, and concrete.’
    • ‘This summer the National Trust asked St Blaise Conservation, directed by Keith Garner, RIBA, to replace the cement with lime mortar.’
    • ‘The first step is to prepare the surface by applying a mixture of mortar, sand and molasses.’
    • ‘A recycling operation takes concrete, brick, mortar and plaster from building sites and grinds them down into building soil to be sold.’
    • ‘The major components of construction, as we all know, are, cement, steel, timber, bricks, mortar, sand, etc.’
    • ‘Grout is mortar to which water has been added until it is thin enough to pour.’
    • ‘In addition to using the same granite, the original mortar was matched with Portland cement lime mortar.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Fix or join using mortar:

    ‘the pipe can be mortared in place’
    • ‘Although steps must be mortared for safety, pavers and flagstones on level ground can be dry-laid in sand, which allows water and oxygen to reach tree roots below.’
    • ‘In the darker recesses of the garage, covered until now by a pair of old MDF bookcases, we discovered a single, special brick mortared into the wall.’
    • ‘Like conventional bricks, adobes are laid in a running bond - an overlapping pattern - then mortared in place with adobe mud.’
    • ‘In a few quick glances he absorbed the entire rolling farmland: green stonework mortared by tree windbreaks.’
    • ‘The pavers can be set in dirt as with the rocks, or mortared to a poured concrete footing.’
    • ‘‘Once the mixer is in place I can handle the whole process’ adds Scheer, ‘from the mixing and forming of the material to stacking and mortaring.’’
    • ‘Thus, the presence of the form makes those bricks and that mortar a house, as opposed, e.g., to a wall or an oven.’
    • ‘The rocks are carefully stacked and mortared with mud.’
    • ‘The creek bed is formed with a pond liner and stones; some stones are mortared together to make smooth ledges.’
    • ‘The pavers, mortared together for stability, create a transition zone between inside and outside.’
    • ‘It also looked as if one of them at least, the one closest to the church wall, was of someone important as the grave was built of carefully mortared stone slabs.’
    • ‘The gazebo wall is made of three rows of decorative concrete blocks mortared together.’
    • ‘Everything from the carefully laid oak floors, the tightly mortared stone of the chimney, and the finely woven tapestries imported from around the globe had been specifically consigned for the Samson estate.’
    • ‘The Anglo-Saxon churches however were utilising rough stones for the bulk of their buildings, and these had to be lime mortared into position.’
    • ‘Natural New Jersey sandstone walls, some dry-laid and others mortared, frame the plantings.’
    • ‘After you are pleased with the results, you can mortar the stones into place on top of the liner as you would to install edging.’
    • ‘He could start to feel where the stones separated and had been mortared in between.’
    • ‘It was built in local stone mortared with clay and roofed in clay mixed with straw.’
    • ‘These are installed as the blocks are mortared into place.’
    • ‘Other mortared walls appear to have been built without any coping and are now suffering the results.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French mortier, from Latin mortarium, probably a transferred sense of the word denoting a container (see mortar).

Pronunciation:

mortar

/ˈmɔːtə/